Sometimes the most trenchant commentary comes from the voices we’d least expect. Such was the case Thursday night when “Borat” actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen used his acceptance speech for an International Leadership Award from the Anti-Defamation League to address the dangers social media giants like Facebook pose to democracies the world over.

While acknowledging that his own body of work has been accused of perpetuating harmful stereotypes—a line of criticism he disputes—he blames the decline of global democracy on the proliferation of hate speech and conspiracy theories. The result, Baron Cohen argues, has been the collapse of a shared reality that serves as the foundation for any pluralistic society. “This is not about limiting anyone’s free speech,” he says. “This is about giving people, including some of the most reprehensible people on earth, the biggest platform in history to reach a third of the planet.”

Watch his address in its entirety above.


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